Black Bear visits La Crosse area, sightings increase

Wildlife experts say black bear sightings in southwest Wisconsin are becoming more common as the animals have been spreading into new areas and seen bellying up to backyard bird feeders.

A large black bear visited a house in the town of Shelby on morning. Dan Harbin said he was startled when he saw the bear in his backyard on Horsehoe Place.

The bear had a late breakfast from a couple of bird feeders that were handing from a deck railing behind his house.  The bear left around 10:45 a.m.

Dave MacFarland of the state Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Management Bureau says the bear population was sparse in the `80s, with the animals present mostly above the forested area of central Wisconsin, above Jackson Clark and Juneau counties. But he says bears can now be found as far south as Richland and Sauk counties.

MacFarland told the La Crosse Tribune that there are more bear sighting around this time of the year because it’s mating season.

He said the increase in sightings isn’t cause for alarm.

Last July, a La Crosse resident took pictures and video of a Black Bear that came up to his house on County Highway W up Bliss Road past the Alpine Inn.